Racism and the 'Black Lives Matter' Movement
In a time where so many are willing to shun and shame you in an instant if you do not affirm everything they think you are supposed to affirm… in a time of extreme division in our country where the other side is often branded as one step down from Satan… in a time of legitimate injustice coming from evil hearts as well as perceived and even invented offenses claimed by overly-sensitive, narcissistic individuals… where should Christians stand? What would God have us to do?
First, loudest, clearest… we must say racism and injustice are absolutely opposed to the gospel. You cannot support racism and follow Christ at the same time. Read Genesis 1, John 4, Galatians 2, Ephesians 2, or Revelation 5. You cannot participate in or condone injustice upon any person or group and still please God. Read the Old Testament minor prophets. Furthermore, while there is a time to listen and learn and stay silent, there is also a point at which staying silent while injustice happens around you is a sin of omission and indifference (See Leviticus 5:1, 20:4-5; Esther 4:14; James 4:17).
Not only this, but we must examine our own hearts and let the Scriptures lay us bare so that God may reveal any hint of racism or prejudice in our hearts that we currently do not identify as racism or prejudice. As Christians we recognize the sinful tendency of our hearts to justify and defend all the convictions and attitudes we currently have, while easily identifying and condemning the sins of others. Every one of us must acknowledge the possibility that we may currently hold racist attitudes and not even know it. May God expose our sin and convict us to repent where necessary.
But we also must hold to biblical convictions even amidst an atmosphere where the peer pressure from the world to “get in line” is now perhaps stronger than ever. Case in point: the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Now… as Christians we will always agree that God values the lives of black people and so should we. They are created in the image of God just like people of every other race. Therefore, they deserve dignity, honor, and respect. They have a God-given right to not be persecuted because of the color of their skin. They have a God-given right to be treated equally among all other races and skin-colors. And we also should acknowledge the history of discrimination against blacks in our country and work hard to eradicate every hint of prejudice in our hearts, our churches, and our communities.
So do black lives matter to us? Yes they do. They certainly should. Do black lives matter to God? You better believe they do. Their lives matter to him just as much as yours. But unfortunately we cannot support the ‘Black Lives Matter’ foundation, or the movement dedicated to its principles, because there are many values this group is promoting that are not biblical.
The ‘What We Believe’ page on BlackLivesMatter.com clearly states that they affirm, support, and work to promote the transgender movement, as well as homosexuality. While Christians can fully stand behind a movement against racism, or a movement for the advancement of equality toward blacks in America, we cannot support LGBTQ values. Scripture is clear. God created and continues to create human beings in his image as distinctly male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). Not only does he create them male and female, but he expressly forbids homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:24-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Christians should withhold their support from any group that promotes values that God labels as sin.
Having said this, we need to make a few important acknowledgements.
First, we realize that some who use the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ are not doing so to support the BLM foundation itself, but are simply advocating for better treatment of black people in our society. We refuse to jump to conclusions that everyone who uses this phrase is also in support of LGBTQ values.
Second, many Christians feel the need to distance themselves from the BLM foundation and thus prefer not to use the three specific words “black lives matter” and instead communicate their value of black lives using other words. This is because they do not want to be seen as supporting a group that also promotes unbiblical values. We deny that if someone refuses to use the specific phrase “Black Lives Matter” they should be labeled a racist person. That person may simply be trying to distance themselves from the BLM foundation itself.
Third, we understand that responding to “black lives matter” with “all lives matter” is often unhelpful. Why? An illustration might help here. I have a son with Autism. If my wife and I were out advocating for Autism Awareness and someone came up to us and said, “Hey, stop talking about Autism so much. All disabilities matter!” That person is obviously missing the point. Of course all disabilities matter. But we are here advocating for one of those disabilities because of our personal experiences. Therefore, personally, I do not respond to someone saying “black lives matter” with “all lives matter” because I think that’s missing the point. Sometimes focusing on “all lives” can be an excuse for never taking any concrete action for the good of any marginalized group at all. Perhaps it is telling that I never hear “all lives matter” or anything of the sort in response to my sermons, articles, or words defending the unborn. That might reveal something about our hearts here.
Finally, we know from the clear teaching of Scripture that the sin of racism will never fully go away in this world until Christ returns. Therefore we are committed to consistently speaking out against the sin of racism and inequality. We are committed to consistently allowing God’s word and the Holy Spirit to expose any hint of racism in our hearts. And we are prepared to fight against this sin until the day the Lord returns.